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Why your organisation needs a style guide

Language has the power to inspire, influence and create change. 

The way we use language is an essential component of brand building.

What we say, and how we say it, contributes to the development of a brand’s personality and sets it apart from the competition. Importantly, contributes to shaping stakeholder perceptions.

Many organisations invest considerably in the development of brand components such as a logo, corporate colours and imagery, yet might not think about how their organisation “speaks” to its stakeholders until there is a problem.

A corporate style guide provides clarity around your organisation’s language use and provide consistent communication that your stakeholders can trust.

What is a style guide?

A style guide is a formal document that details the writing principles that underpin your organisation’s communication.

It gives your employees and external consultants a blueprint for writing and shows them what language to use and how to use so that it aligns with your organisation’s brand voice.

A style guide is a key component of your organisation’s branding guidelines. Just like your graphic designer will rely on the guideline’s principles when using your logo, colours and typography, a style guide is relied upon to develop on-brand written communication.

Is a style guide really that important?

A style guide is like any roadmap that helps achieve a particular outcome.

Most importantly, a style guide helps both your teams and your external agencies and freelancers to achieve consistency, regardless of who is writing what. It helps to avoid your organisation coming across as if it has a number of different personalities which can quickly erode your credibility and dilute your message.

A style guide also helps to prevent causing unintentional offence, providing clarity around terminology and language use to ensure your communication is bias-free and inclusive.

What goes in a style guide?

Typically, a style guide will provide a range of rules for “what you say” in your written communication, such as:

  • specific words and terms
  • technical terminology
  • jargon, slang and acronyms
  • grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • hyphens, abbreviations and bullet points
  • capitalisation and special characters
  • numbers, dates and times
  • British or American English
  • examples and writing tips


A style guide also provides direction for tone of voice, the “how you say it” component of your writing.

Tone of voice is inextricably linked to your brand’s personality, and reflects whether it is outgoing, fun and friendly, or more conservative and informative.

Importantly, style guidelines must show the user how to adapt tone of voice to match the context and stakeholder’s mindset.

How should you use your style guide?

A style guide is used across all types of communication, from website content, social media, sales collateral and video scripts to editorial, report writing and customer service support.   

It provides your internal teams plus any external agencies, or freelance writers or editors with a clear set of rules and examples that can be applied consistently across your communication.

It means that anyone can pick up your style guide at any stage of a project and develop on-brand communication.  

It should form part of your wider branding guidelines document and be treated as a living document that develops in step with your brand and the wider environment.

Need help to develop your corporate style guide?

Writeme can develop corporate style guidelines tailored specifically for your organisation, with real life examples that help your teams and external agencies apply your communication rules with ease.

Get in touch with our team on (0)1 611 1563 to get your corporate style guide underway.  

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Address: Writeme

Address: Writeme

DUBLIN IRELAND
Telephone:

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+353 (0)1 611 1563

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Writeme creates expert communication for business. Our work helps to convey concepts, create meaningful dialogue, promote products and services, achieve buy-in and build trust.